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The joy of feeling like a guitar-thrashing rockstar in Hi-Fi Rush

Guitar hero

Man, do I love the feeling of jamming out a guitar riff in games. Sure, in reality, I’m slumped on my couch in a position that my body will give me payback for when I’m thirty, but in my fantasy, I’m a musical prodigy whose guitar licks are so epic it would make Slash cry. My joy for virtual jamming came as a direct result of playing hours and hours of Guitar Hero. Harmonix held my music taste in its death grip, and almost breaking my fingers on those flimsy plastic buttons trying to conquer Through The Fire And Flames is a precious memory of mine.

So yeah, I love a good guitar sesh, so when I saw that Hi-Fi Rush was about a wannabe rockstar that smacks evil megacorp robots with his guitar to a catchy rock OST, Tango Gameworks had my attention.

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Honestly, main character Chai doesn’t really give off rockstar energy, he’s definitely more of a loveable labrador retriever. Not like that matters though, because you could have all the sex appeal and rock rhythm of a wooden spoon and Hi-Fi Rush would still make you feel like a rockstar. Sure, part of it is how the game makes you feel like you have rhythm even when you have none (something that Hayden touched upon earlier this week), but the main reason is that when you hit those notes, you hit them HARD.

Swinging your guitar around feels genuinely punchy, and combined with the dazzling pop of comic-book colour every time you make contact just adds to the overall kinetic energy of the strike. Hitting a successful string of hack-and-slack combat combos has a similar rush to hitting all the correct notes and chords of a guitar solo. It brings a whole new meaning to guitar thrashing.

Hi-Fi Rush screenshot showing a big blast around Chai as his guitar connects with a robot.

It’s something I think developers Beethoven And Dinosaur missed when they made fellow musical rock opera The Artful Escape. Sure, pressing buttons to unleash a wailing guitar solo across the galaxy while leaping into a mid-air split kick looked cool, but there was no energy behind it. If we’re talking about different kinds of musical energies, Tchia’s twinkling ukulele songs are a great example, but instead of crackling kinetic energy, it was raw emotional energy. I swear I almost cried when her father started singing, my heart couldn't handle it.

But back to Hi-Fi Rush! It also helps that the soundtrack had some absolute bangers on it. I mean, getting songs from Nine Inch Nails, The Black Keys and The Prodigy is no joke. I gotta give props to the rest of the soundtrack, too though, as it also completely slaps. Buzzsaw by The Glass Pyramids is definitely something you’d find on an SSX or Guitar Hero playlist.

I’ll definitely be putting more hours into Hi-Fi Rush just to get my kick of guitar grooves. Also, while I was writing this, I wondered if anyone had actually played Hi-Fi Rush with a Guitar Hero controller and of course, someone had.

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Hi-Fi Rush

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About the Author
Rachel Watts avatar

Rachel Watts

Former Reviews Editor

Rachel was Rock Paper Shotgun's reviews editor between 2022-2023. She has seven years of games journalism under her hat and has always been a passionate advocate for indie games.